Putin critic facing up to 25 years in jail to learn fate on Monday
FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza, vice chairman of Open Russia, testifies before a Senate Appropriations State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee hearing on “Civil Society Perspectives on Russia” on Capitol Hill
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Facing up to a quarter of a century in jail on treason charges he denies, Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza is expected to learn his fate on Monday when a Moscow court pronounces a verdict and sentences him.
Kara-Murza, 41, a father of three and former journalist who holds Russian and British passports, spent years as a politician opposing President Vladimir Putin and lobbied foreign governments and institutions to impose sanctions on Russia and individual Russians for purported human rights violations.
Russian state prosecutors have requested a 25-year prison sentence for Kara-Murza, who they accuse of treason and of discrediting the Russian military after he criticised what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The court is expected to start delivering its verdict at 11 a.m. (0800 GMT).
In his final speech to the court, Kara-Murza compared his trial to one of Josef Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. He declined to ask the court to acquit him and said he stood by and was proud of everything he had said.
“Criminals are supposed to repent of what they have done. I, on the other hand, am in prison for my political views. I also know that the day will come when the darkness over our country will dissipate,” he said.
Kara-Murza and his supporters say he has twice survived being poisoned in the past. Russian authorities deny any involvement in the alleged attacks.